2020 Review and 2021 Goals
| Will Bamberg
Hello, welcome to my blog! This post topic was prompted by blogger Tynan’s own year-end post. I thought an outline of what I was up to last year and what I’ll be doing next year would be a good inaugural post.
2020 was my best year yet for healthy habits, namely keeping a consistent sleep schedule, reading daily, and reducing time spent on social media. It’s also been a record year yet for my attitude and mental headspace: framing things positively, trying to be on my own team, and treating each day as a new opportunity to grow and create things. I have the sense that my trajectory is positive, which is it’s own reward and motivation.
Last year was also a record-creative year for me. During college I completed the long arc of climbing out of the “left-brained person” box that I pigeonholed myself into while growing up. I’ve realized that I’m a deeply artistic person and that creativity is a huge motivating force in my life. Through 2020 I invested a lot of time into writing, drawing, music production, and programming, and I have a lot of ideas for future projects. One of my favorite creative developments last year was buying a 5.5” x 8.5” Strathmore sketchbook to combine all of my writing and drawing into one place. Few things bring me as much serotonin as flipping back through pages filled with poetry and doodles.
In April, I began with my best friend what has blossomed into my healthiest, happiest, and most meaningful relationship ever. It has been paradigm changing for my views on love and communication. I’m incredibly thankful to have found such an amazing human being who supports me, sees me, and is just the most fun person to hang out with on the planet. I recommend starting a relationship as a quarantine-loneliness aversion measure—it’s super effective!
Speaking of quarantine, it’s been a long year of mask-wearing and minimizing contact with other humans. Virtual learning wasn’t an ideal transition but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate rolling out of bed, making coffee, and sitting down at my laptop in my pajamas. On the whole I think I’ve taken the pandemic on the chin—the necessary cancellation of my summer study abroad trip to Japan certainly stung, but I have no illusions about my own privilege in a time when many people have lost jobs or homes or been exposed to risk as essential workers. Over the months I have noticed myself developing a sense of detachment, perhaps as a defense mechanism against the reality of extended social isolation. I’ve watched myself pull back into my own life and had a difficult time maintaining energy for virtual social events and reaching out to friends. All in all I’m okay, grateful that I’ve had no loved ones become seriously ill due to Covid, and crossing my fingers for a vaccinated summer 2021.
In December I finally graduated from the University of Texas with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering! I’m very glad to be through with the “education” phase of life—especially engineering school—and I look forward to having more mental space to focus on my own interests and growth. The only bittersweetness I feel stems from knowing that I’m exiting the phase of life where being in close proximity to many friends is a constant. The onset of quarantine was abrupt, and I wonder at how many last goodbyes I unwittingly said back in February, depending on when I leave Austin and the state of Covid in the coming months. Without any notion of victimhood or personal hardship, I do feel sadness for this lost last year of hangouts and kickbacks, soccer games, parties, org meetings, and study sessions that were going to make up my last year of college, until they didn’t. C’est la vie.
In November I accepted a job at Seagate Technology as a mechanical design engineer. I’ll be working on hard disc drive development doing mechanical design (CAD, analysis, testing) as well as exploring data science and machine learning tools. Although I’m still figuring out where exactly I want my future to take me, this job feels like an excellent life milestone (supporting myself!) and launching point. I started remote earlier in January and will move up to Longmont, Colorado in May! This will be my first real move away from my hometown, a life development I’ve been awaiting for several years. I’m excited to launch into a new phase of growth and life, and thrilled that it’ll happen in Colorado.
Goals for 2021
Start a blog.
Knocked this one out! I’m going to hold myself to a monthly posting schedule for now, and once I’ve comfortably hit that for a while I intend to increase that frequency. These first posts will be on a prepackaged WordPress.com blog, but will be migrated to my own website eventually. I’ll mainly be writing about growth & self-improvement, with the occasional personal post sprinkled in.
Build a website
I’m really excited to build a public-facing website for myself. I want it to combine my blog, a professional landing point (e.g. resume/portfolio/contact), a creative landing point (to post my own art, music, poetry), and whatever other ideas I come up with. I took a web development class in my last semester of college and am looking forward to building on those skills by developing the site. Much groundwork to do still (picking a blog title, domain name, hosting service, etc). Once the site is up and running I’ll migrate all existing blog posts over.
Daily Creative Development
Invest time into music production, writing and art. I’d like to do each of those daily but know that I need to temper my expectations and prioritize one (likely music) as my most important daily time investment. I’m continuing to workshop what schedules, habits, etc. will best keep me motivated and disciplined in this. Also, once quarantine is over I’m looking forward to taking dance classes again and to starting regular voice lessons.
Not much to say here: work hard and learn as much as I can. Stay engaged in remote work. Automate my finances to save and invest a certain percentage of my income.
Continue to maintain a healthy sleep schedule, reduce passive inputs and social media consumption, read more books than I read last year (I read 23 books in 2020 and have read 6 so far in January, so I think I’ll be able to do it). Also, I want to continue to maintain an exercise routine, start lifting again post-Covid, and join a new soccer team in Colorado after moving!
Between Longmont and nearby Boulder and Denver (15 and 45 minutes away respectively) I’ll have ample urban and suburban exploration options. I’m planning to get a new bike to commute to work and get around town with; hopefully I’ll make some friends along the way too. I’m also looking forward to setting up a new living space, as well as the opportunity to jettison excess physical possessions that moving brings. Finally, I’m excited to hike a lot and climb a bunch of mountains—it’s under an hour’s drive from Longmont to Rocky Mountain National Park!